03 July 2007 | Saint Lucia
After a bit of cereal and OJ for breakfast we started to get the boat ready for a sail. We put PFDs on all of the kids and gave some basic instruction for being on a sailboat underway. I was not sure what we were in for at this point. We should see 15 knots of wind from the east right? I mean this is the Caribbean. The forecast also predicted 15 knots from the east. I have learned to distrust all expectations over the past few months. We always find things stronger than predicted in crossings and more or less random on the back side of a mountainous island.
You also never know how people are going to react to sailing until you sail with them. You could have a friend with the hardiest constitution on the planet, bites the heads off of nails, eats food that would make a normal person ill and then rides the big five roller coasters at Magic Mountain, double daring the Colossus backwards twice, with no problem. Put them on a sailboat and they become a quivering, hurling mess. Other people who can't ride in the back seat of a car without turning green are fine on boats. Usually motion sickness is universal but not always.
As it turned out we couldn't have asked for a better break-in day. It was 13 knots on the beam with lake like seas. I couldn't believe it. It was what it was supposed to be! We skated across the flat leeward water at 9 knots as if we were on rails. Kory took the helm and steered the boat for a good part of the trip. Much better than an auto pilot. It was a beautiful sail and everyone had a great time. The only bad part was that with only 8 miles to sail it was over quickly.
Off season in Saint Lucia is a mixed bag with the boat boys. There are fewer of them plying the waters because there are fewer boats, but because there are fewer boats you tend to attract all of them when you show up. Marigot is not as bad as many other spots, I think there's a union or something. We only had one guy pester us as we tried to motor into the harbor. People come to the islands with their boats to enjoy sailing and everything that goes with it. Tying up, mooring, anchoring, running a line to a coconut tree, it is all part of the dream. It is a real downer when someone tries to foist help upon you that you don't want and then tries to force you to pay for the service.
The moorings in Marigot (as in most of the boat boy locales) don't have painters. This makes it convenient to have someone in a dinghy unless you have a small amount of freeboard (by design I'm sure, although this does reduce the charter boat prop wraps I suppose). The guy who was running along side us told me the mooring was $30 and that we didn't have to pay him anything extra, so I said ok, just to have him on his way as quickly as possible. I later found out that if you call the Discovery Hotel, which manages the moorings, the actual mooring fee is only $15. Typical. Being obnoxious for financial gain is forgivable, but deceiving for financial gain is pretty despicable.
Marigot is a very protected harbor and easy to sail right by if you're not looking for it. The tale told by all the tour boats (and me I guess...) is that the British fleet hid in the inner harbor with palm fronds tied to the masts allowing them to escape the French fleet. I could certainly believe it. It is a Mangrove shoreline and so the water is murky with a muddy bottom. Some obstinate people anchor inside but there's really no room with the Moorings Charter base there and all of the moorings out in the lagoon. You can anchor outside but all of the shops and restaurants are in the inner lagoon.
It could be blowing a gale outside and it would still be flat in Marigot. Perfect conditions for dinghy training. We dropped Little Star into the lagoon and Thomas set about taking the kids on a tour. Maddy and Kory did pretty good with the 8hp outboard but they were a little rough on the docking procedures. After careful consideration they were granted open water dinghy licenses but kindly asked to surrender the helm when in the proximity of fixed objects.
Late in the afternoon we all decided to relax on the trampolines to enjoy the cooling end of the day. There had been a lot of discussion of poo going on as Roq was just starting to get the hang of going to the restroom on the boat. Emily was sitting with Sammy near Maddy on the Port trampoline, Hideko and I were sitting on the old people's tramp (as designated by Maddy) to Starboard, Thomas was sitting on the bow seat to port and Kory was sitting on the Port bridge deck. Abruptly Kory said, "What's that smell?" The adults said, "What smell?" "Something stinks", came the response. Then Maddy said, "it smells like poop" Everyone began looking around with concerned expressions and then after a brief pause, like a diesel engine starting up, the truth was exposed. Sammy burst out bawling. Not only was it a poo accident but there was a tidy little pile of brown pudding right smack in the middle of the kids trampoline.
Clouds broke over Thomas and Emily's faces. The kids made bee lines for the farthest point on the fore deck from the smoking gun. Hideko and I simply burst into laughter. We told Maddy that she wasn't allowed on the old people tramp but she quickly changed the age limit. Em took Sammy inside to clean up and Thomas got the enviable task of tramp clean up. Roq seemed confused by the entire incident.
That night we went ashore for dinner at a really neat place called Mygo. Mygo has various parts but the Soggy Dollar Bar and Grill and Pizza Kitchen are right across from the only sandy spot in Marigot, with a great dinghy dock. They advertise Pizza but the pizza is not really very good IMHO. Everything else was great though. It was barbeque night so they were grilling right on the dock.
The sandy spot in Marigot is more of a water sports depot and Palm tree hammock haven than a beach. We really enjoyed the peace and serenity of Marigot (perhaps only available in the off season) but the Sand Crabs are tough customers when it comes to substandard beach facilities. We would be moving on tomorrow.